“It’s a Test we want to win” | Beirne and Casey keen to get World Cup warm up off to the right start

Unlike the build up the previous world cup, Andy Farrell’s men appear to be in the form of their life and Casey spoke glowingly of life in the camp.

For Craig Casey, the build up to the World Cup is a new one as the 23-year-old prepares for a first competition with the senior set up.

After captaining the U20s, the Munster starlet is excited to get going this weekend with the side beginning their warm up series against Italy this Saturday.

“Its a chance to show my hand and put my hand up for selection so hopefully yeah.”

craig casey

Ireland came into the last tournament as one of the favourites after claiming the Grand Slam 18 months prior to the competitions onset.

But as the tournament grew closer, Ireland’s form dipped as they were subsequently dumped out against New Zealand in the quarters.

This time around, Andy Farrell’s men appear to be in the form of their life and Casey spoke glowingly of life in the camp.

“It’s been very different. I know the lads were talking about he 2019 World Cup and it was barbaric. But this has been really enjoyable, we’ve mixed the craic with some really hard work. We’re doing a lot of rugby skills and rugby sessions so it’s been brilliant.”

13 May 2023; Craig Casey of Munster celebrates after his side’s victory in the United Rugby Championship Semi-Final match between Leinster and Munster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Ireland’s game with Italy will allow a number of the squad to stake their claim for a place not only on the plane to France but also in the match day panel.

As such it will only be a warm up in name as Casey looks to make a mark in the set up ahead of his maiden World Cup.

“For me it’s another chance to get a test cap under the belt so I don’t take it as a friendly at all. I’m expecting the Italians to come heavy again, they have a game under their belt against Scotland last week so that will stand to them. I don’t think the intensity will drop one bit, it will probably go up with players knowing they have to play their way into a World Cup squad.

Munster club mate Tadhg Beirne echoed this sentiment with the URC champion knowing how important these games are.

“You can certainly lose your spot in a World Cup squad if you don’t play well. Even as a squad we have a record at home that we are proud of at the moment, we are playing a certain type of rugby that we want to continue doing.

‘We are looking at it very much as we would a Six Nations game or a November international game. It’s a Test match we want to win and we are going out there to prove a point, 100 per cent.’

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Ireland host Italy this Saturday at 8pm in the Aviva in their first Bank of Ireland Nations Series outing.

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